Netting a goal at the World Cup simply has to be chiselled onto the bucket list of any footballer in the world, regardless of age, nationality or the actual odds of the dream ever becoming reality.


However, for some extremely talented individuals, goals at international tournaments flow like tap water.

A grand total of 14 players have scored 10 goals or more in World Cup finals, a list only recently frequented by Lionel Messi following his strike against the Netherlands.

And there's an even more exclusive club, one reserved for the most explosive performers in World Cup finals history.

Down the decades there have been plenty of magnificent goals scored by world-class players at the World Cup, but only five have ever managed to score nine or more at a single tournament.

More like this brings you everything you need to know about the most successful goalscorers in World Cup history.

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Who has scored the most goals in a single World Cup?

Ademir – Brazil

9 goals scored in 1950 World Cup

The first player to reach nine goals at a World Cup was Ademir, as Brazil dazzled their home fans in 1950. Brazil were expected to win this World Cup and Ademir got them motoring with three goals in the initial group stage.

He then scored four in a 7-1 demolition of Sweden in the four-team final group. But despite his goals – and him starting in the final group game against Uruguay – Ademir couldn’t help Brazil over the line as they lost 2-1 to the Uruguayans in the Maracana to finish second.

Eusebio – Portugal

9 goals scored in 1966 World Cup

Sixteen years after Ademir came Eusebio, the Portuguese whizz who lit up Old Trafford and Goodison Park with three goals in the 1966 World Cup group stage, and then bagged four in the famous 5-3 comeback against North Korea.

Eusebio also scored a penalty against England in the semi-final but Portugal went out 2-1. He grabbed a final ninth goal from the penalty spot in the third-place playoff, helping his team beat the Soviet Union 2-1.

Gerd Muller – West Germany

10 goals scored in 1970 World Cup

Gerd Muller was a different breed of footballer when he entered the scene in Mexico ‘70. The German had twice won Footballer of the Year in his home country, and won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. 1970 would be Muller’s year too. He scored 10 goals at the World Cup under the sweltering Mexican sun, netting hat-tricks against Bulgaria and Peru in the group stage.

Muller scored in extra time to see West Germany past England in the quarter-finals, and twice again in the semis against Italy. But Italy won that game and went on to lose to Brazil in the final. West Germany went into the third-place playoff with Uruguay and won 1-0. Wolfgang Overath, not Muller, scored the winner in Mexico City.

Sandor Kocsis – Hungary

11 goals scored in 1954 World Cup

Back in the ‘50s there really wasn’t a better team in the world than Hungary. It remains a shame that the team spearheaded by Ferenc Puskás never won the World Cup. But they very nearly did in 1954, and not only thanks to Puskás but also Sandor Kocsis.

The striker scored a hat-trick in a 9-0 demolition of South Korea, and four as Hungary stuffed West Germany 8-3. Two more came in a 4-2 quarter-final triumph over Brazil, before Kocsis bagged an extra time double to see Hungary past Uruguay and into the final.

But that’s where his luck ran out. Hungary took a 2-0 lead after eight minutes against West Germany but eventually lost the final 3-2. Kocsis played but didn’t get on the scoresheet.

World Cup goals record Just Fontaine
Just Fontaine scored 13 goals for France in the 1958 World Cup and his record is yet to be broken. Getty Images

Just Fontaine – France

13 goals scored in 1958 World Cup

Just Fontaine holds the record for the most goals scored in a single World Cup – and perhaps he will never be beaten. The France icon bagged an eye-watering 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup yet didn’t even walk away with the trophy.

Fontaine scored a hat-trick in France’s opening 7-3 victory over Paraguay, two more in a defeat to Yugoslavia and another to help his side to a 2-1 triumph of Scotland.

In the knockout stage, he got a double against Northern Ireland, and an early strike in the 5-3 semi-final defeat to Brazil. What pushed Fontaine over the edge for most goals scored at a single World Cup was his four-goal haul in the 1958 third-place play-off. France beat West Germany 6-3 as Fontaine made it 13 goals for the tournament.

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